Payroll processor Automatic Data Processing said Wednesday that the private sector added 179,000 new jobs in May, the lowest level since January and below analyst's expectations of 210,000 net new jobs. The payroll processor also revised April's numbers downwards by 5,000 to 215,000.
Despite the downward trend, May's numbers are still better than they were for the same month last year, 163,000 net new jobs, and are in line with the average of the last 12 months.
The ADP report comes two days before the Labor Department releases its numbers for private- and public-sector job growth. Analyst estimates predict a 213,000 new jobs to be added in May and the unemployment rate to rise by 0.1 percent to 6.4 percent.
Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, said that the drop in hiring was partly due to less hiring by professional and business services companies, which added 46,000 net new jobs compared with 75,000 the previous month,
"The job market has yet to break out from the pace of growth that has prevailed over the last three years," he said.